Is your Tap Water Safe for making Infant Formula?

If you are using either liquid concentrate or powdered formula to feed your baby, you need to mix it with safe, sterilized water.

How do I make sure my tap water is safe for making formula?

  • Winnipeg municipal tap water from the cold tap is safe to use. Let the tap run until the water turns cold before filling a pot for sterilizing. This will flush out contaminants such as copper.
  • If your home was built before 1989 it may have:
    • lead pipes (common in homes built before the mid-1950s)
    • lead solder connections
    • brass or chrome-plated brass taps
      • If the water has been standing in the pipes for more than 6 hours, “flush” the system by:
        • flushing the toilet
        • taking a shower
        • starting a load of laundry
        • Then let the tap run cold before using the water to make infant formula.
  • If you have more questions about lead in your tap water, visit the City of Winnipeg’s website.
  • You can use well water that meets safety standards. Test well water at least twice per year for nitrates, fluoride and coliform bacteria. Water should have less than 45 mg/L of nitrates and no more than 1.5 mg/L of fluoride. For more information on testing well water, see the Manitoba Government’s fact sheet, How to Test Well Water for Bacteria or call Health Links- Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll free 1-888-315-9257.
  • Bottled water (NOT carbonated and mineral waters) is safe to use, but still needs to be sterilized.

Water that may not be safe

  • If your water is from a municipal well, it may not be safe to use.
  • If there is a boil water advisory in your community or you are getting brown water out of your tap, do not use.
  • Do not use tap water if you use a water softener.
If you do not have a safe water source use…
  • ready-to-feed formula OR
  • bottled water to prepare your powdered or concentrated infant formula. Bottled water still needs to be sterilized before use.

How to sterilize water

Fill a clean pot with water, cover and bring to a rolling boil for two minutes.

  • Sterilized water can be stored in a covered sterilized container at room temperature for 24 hours or in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  • How you use sterilized water depends on whether you use liquid concentrate formula or powdered formula.  Please refer to the page on the formula type for more information.
Parent tip: All feeding equipment needs to be sterilized. Check out this link for all your sterilizing needs.


City of Winnipeg- Lead and Winnipeg’s Water
Manitoba Government: Be Lead Aware- Formula Feeding Factsheet